As the sun continues to shine, my work days have gotten a bit brighter. Even the rail cars are getting into the spirit.
I spotted a “Lilo and Stitch” graffiti painted car outside the window today. It made me smile at the abilities of some vandals. The recognition of a cartoon character on either side of a tag is becoming commonplace.
Seeing “Lilo and Stitch” reminded me of our trip to Hawaii seven years ago. As well as our trip to Tokyo three years ago. Which got me thinking about all of our vacations to Disneyland. I really do enjoy my time with my family as we make memories.
So if a graffiti vandal can make me happy, then I really don’t mind seeing their crimes. Especially on rolling art canvases that travel the continent.
Today is the last day of MY Spring Break– even though it’s the First Day Of Spring! My wife still has Sunday off and our kids have another week off from school. Lucky ducks.
I’m not sure how it went by so quickly. I was up early almost every day and stayed up late as well. We achieved a lot around the house through packing and donating. I think that was where all my free time went towards.
We did get some driving lessons in for our middle child, which was good. As well as a ton of emails and paperwork completed for the purchase of our new home. My wife and I spent a lot of time together on a few walks, and we went out for my Birthday supporting the local businesses.
I guess in the end, it was a fulfilled “Staycation” keeping me busy. It just seemed like something was missing. Perhaps the whole “can’t travel” outside of Canada has me down. I’m sure once more folks receive the vaccine, those borders will open up soon enough. For now, I should just appreciate the time I had at home with my family.
It would also be nice not to have to return to work… but bills gotta be paid somehow. Now to look forward to my next set of vacation days- set for when we move!
It’s that time again. My first vacation of the year is starting. It feels great to know I don’t have to go into work for 11 days.
It was definitely a stressful day at work as I tried to keep focused. My mind was clearly elsewhere as buying and selling of our future homes is forefront in my life.
The next few days will be some decompressing time. I’ll get some time to myself and then next week my wife and the kids will be on vacation as well. That’s when we will be busy packing more stuff for the move.
So “Spring Break” won’t be much of a break. Just time away from work in order to do more work.
Well it seems my fun in the sun has come to an end. It’s back to work starting tonight. Two weeks of night shifts means I’ll be missing the last of the summer sunshine while I sleep the days away.
On the bright side, I only have 6 weeks of work until my next week of vacation time. We already have that weekend booked for a trip to Victoria, BC. Our middle daughter has always wanted to go there but never has. So it seemed like a reasonable idea. Last time I was in Victoria was a little over three years ago when I Chaperoned My Son’s School Trip.
Who knows what the world will be like in a month and a half. Everything is changing day to day. I hope this trip doesn’t get cancelled like our Disneyland one did earlier this year. But if the world needs to keep people healthy- so be it.
Even if our travel plans do go on hold, I can still look forward to my time off. In SIX weeks…
My vacation is over which means back to work for me tonight. I have a “week” of night shifts. But it’s really only three nights. I have a four day weekend coming up starting Wednesday. Which makes it nicer to ease into the workload after vacation.
It’s been nice just doing camping, kayaking, and hanging out. No smell of diesel or grain dust on me. I will need to dig out my work clothes and gear before I return to work this evening.
My wife doesn’t return to work until tomorrow. So she is going to relax for one more day while I nap before my night shift. Pretty sure she is going to play video games. She has an extra day off on Thursday so her work week is shortened as well.
So far summer has been pretty good to us. I hope for it to continue over the next couple months.
I have one more shift to go at work before a week of vacation kicks in. I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself. The crazy part is that I don’t have much planned for my time off. Our Disneyland trip is on hold due to COVID-19. We were looking forward to spending The Fourth of July in the USA for the first time ever. I assume it’d be a big deal. Especially in Disneyland!
I still plan on being not-so-sober during my time off. I do have a few days of camping planned with most of my family and a friend with his kids. Last summer he joined us and, well, drinking was pretty much non-stop. But the weather was great and so were the kids. So why not go for round two?
It’ll be hard to make it through that last day of work without a big smile on my face. Somehow, I’m sure I’ll survive until that first beer hits my lips. Then it’ll be a blur.
Once the restrictions on travel get lifted, will you be planning a vacation?
Personally, I think I’ll wait a bit. But I also realized that there is a great big world out there that I’ve missed out on already. I now want to see more of this planet than ever before. Mostly because I’m being told to stay home!
Of the vacations and travel I have done, the best times was spent with my family. We’ve taken our kids from California to Tokyo, Hawaii to Calgary. These are top of my lists- especially to travel to with kids/teens. I have now created a small list of places I still want to go to as a family. Now to figure out when to get there and how to afford it!
Road trip across Canada
The last one is what I’d love to do with my wife. Do a fun road trip in a camper van or small RV once we retire. Spend a few months just picking up and going everywhere we can. Plus if we’re on the move, it’ll feel like a grand adventure!
This summer we would like to be camping more than before. Not glamping. We’ve never done that, yet. Or we may just stay in our yard and live the best quarantine life we can! But I want to travel!!!
Today the kids start their winter break away from school. And as we do every year- we start it with a viewing of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation“. A classic film filled with perfect comedic timing. Also some wicked quotes that you can say and everyone knows where it’s from.
At least our Christmas Vacation is different than what the film portrays.
Today we announced to the kids that they are only going to be allowed thirty minutes each day on their phones. As well, if they want to play video games or watch tv it has be to with at least one other person. They are going to spend quality time together!
If you have kids- I hope that you have a great Christmas Vacation with them. It’s all about those family memories and creating traditions that will last a lifetime.
British Columbia is beautiful in many aspects. This week, my wife and I did a couple excursions with our new kayaks in Northern BC.
The other day we went to Charlie Lake which was 15 minutes north of Fort St. John. On Thursday my wife and I headed 15 minutes south towards the town of Taylor, BC.
We wanted to hit the Peace River for some kayaking. However, we knew the current would be strong because of the information we read about when we went to the Site C Dam lookout. After some research on Google and using the Google maps satellite view- I found a small alcove near a boat launch on the south side of the Peace River. So we went exploring.
This had to be the most peaceful kayaking we’ve done yet. The waters were calm and the views were spectacular. It was so leisurely that we spent almost two hours floating around without having to put much effort in.
It was a pleasant excursion and made me glad we toted the kayaks almost 1200 kms just to experience this. Perhaps one day our upper body strength will be better and we could try tackling a stronger current.
But until then, I’m content to put my feet up and relax.
About 15 minutes outside of Fort St. John is Charlie Lake. Yesterday my wife and I decided to go and check it out with our kayaks.
The boat launch that is there is in disrepair, so you can only bring kayaks, canoes and small boats in the lake. This meant that yesterday- we had the lake to ourselves.
This is a small lake only 3 km wide and 13 km long. There are a few homes situated along the shore, but none if you paddled north. Near the shoreline was heavy in algae which gave it a green tinge and made it tough to paddle through.
Once we ventured out about 500 meters, the water was pristine. Our mid day paddle last a good couple of hours and we paused at one point for a lunch break as we bobbed up and down on the slight waves.
This was yet another easy kayaking adventure. No challenge to it. But because of the amount of time we spent on the water- we can feel the burn today in our muscles. It feels great.
I’m about to enjoy 17 days off. It seems like I always have vacation time off from work. I kind of do I guess. Five weeks of regular vacation every year. I try and set aside a week every couple of months. This year was a bit different. I have been enjoying summer a lot and still have more to come!
As I’ve mentioned, most of my time off this year is to support our son. First was a week in March for a Speed Skating competition. Then was June so that I could chaperone with Grade 7 Camp. A week in July in order for him to skate on the Olympic Oval. And next week is another Speed Skating camp in Northern BC.
The last week of August will be a summer wind down. With some camping and R+R to slow down our busy lives before returning to a September schedule. Taking a week in June, a week in July, and two weeks in August is a great way to keep the summer vacation going. Even if we aren’t traveling to exotic locations- the time spent with family and friends is extraordinarily worthwhile.
How are you planning on ending August? Let me know in the comments.
In North America there is a couple of days in July that feel lost and without fanfare.
July 2nd and 3rd.
These are the two days that fall between Canada Day and Independence Day. The celebrations on July 1st north of the border and on July 4th south of the border. Canadians and Americans share a huge border and those that live near it, such as myself, benefit from the ability to visit freely from one side to the other.
What should we do with those two days in between? We should create an official celebration between our two countries that lasts four days. Hear me out… Already many people extend their time off around one of these dates. Many of us have family and friends who live on either side of the border. Plus the number 23 in numerology contains elements of companionship, diplomacy, and teamwork energies. A perfect description of the camaraderie between our two countries.
Why not make it official? Call July 2 and 3rd The International Two-Three. A new holiday celebrating friendships. I’m on board and want to make posters now!
I make the most of my vacations. My days off are full of fun times and experiences. I came back to work after ten days off this past vacation to find an abundance of emails.
That was probably the hardest part of coming back to work. I enjoy the job itself, but there is often excessive emails that I need to sift through to find what I need to do my job.
Coming back to work and I’m already thinking towards my next vacation. Planning ahead is tough when you’re not sure how much you could spend.
I’d like to try and not go into debt to enjoy some time away from home. Pinching pennies and returning empty bottles for refunds may be how I pay for our next bit of fun. Back to working in order to afford my vacations I guess. Like a vicious circle.
In the past when we have gone on vacation, we have left our dog, Lex Luthor with friends, family or at a Kennel. He has always been returned to us happy and healthy.
However, the one time he stayed at my sister’s place, he escaped within the first few hours. I received a phone call from someone who had collected Lex. My sister felt so awful about him breaking free that she would never look after him again. I wasn’t mad at her, he was quite the energetic dog when we first got him. Even in the first week of us adopting him, he jumped our fence and wandered the neighborhood (without us knowing). Lex is much older now and far less active.
An old friend of mine asked if we could look after their puppy while they were out of town. He’s a youthful nine month old puppers. Very friendly and gets along with our family and Lex which is great. Having this puppy here has made us be more energetic and mobile. We are going for more walks and playing around more. But we did the same thing my sister did. We were complacent about following the rules of a new dog.
One night, our son let both dogs out into our backyard. Our dog Lex returned. But our visitor did not. With a fenced acre and lots of trees, we searched the backyard nonchalantly thinking that he must be there. No such luck. Turns out he ran into the neighbor’s yard. So our kids went to get him.
Puppies don’t listen very well. This puppers was no exception. He kept running further and further off whenever we got close. Not only did our kids try and catch him, but three more neighborhood kids got in on the excitement. This puppy was chased through about twenty acres of open farm lands.
Only to return to our backdoor.
Now I kind of know how my sister felt. Even though I wasn’t overly scared that we’d never see him again- there was that small negative part of me that wondered how I would tell my buddy that his godson lost his dog. Luckily I didn’t have to. Maybe he will read this when he returns from his vacation. Until then, the puppy has found a happy place in our house and has made himself quite at home. I don’t think our son will let him out of his sights again.
Somewhere in all this is a good lesson to learn. I don’t quite know what it is, but my son’s guilt was punishment enough. Looking back, we also saved a dog in Odaiba, Japan and returned him to his owner. People and pets have a bond that you can’t refute.
Flying home from Los Angeles I chose to sit by the window. I took advantage of this and enjoyed the scenery below.
Flying over California was neat. The change in landscapes was quick paced. Almost immediately leaving Los Angeles there were mountains and farmland. Lots of earthy tones of brown and green.
As we approached the Vancouver airport, the view changed drastically to more lush green and the blue of the water surrounding the outskirts.
Flying over both was surreal to me. In California- I could see below us all of the many roads we have driven in the past to get to Disneyland. Arriving at Vancouver, I could see the many locations that my work services. Rail cars and train tracks that I have been on numerous times. Plus many local roads that I have driven.
Once you’re in the air- flying is neat. The other stuff at airports, check in, paperwork, delays, etc… sucks. I prefer a good old fashioned road trip.
Back at the end of January/ beginning of February 2009, I was getting laid off. So we took that opportunity to go to Disneyland for the first time. I was told on the Wednesday that on the Friday I’d be laid off. So we went onto the Disneyland website and booked tickets and a hotel starting the Sunday.
That Saturday morning, Mickey and his friends called our house and the kids answered the call. Their ages were 2,4 and 6. They lit up! Immediately after the call, we packed our minivan and hit the road. We drove straight through for 26 hours taking turns driving.
We arrived at the Portifino Inn and Suites. It was perfect. Separate bedroom for the kids and only a short walk to the park. This our third time returning to stay at the hotel.
The rooms are spacious and moderately priced. Like most hotels near Disneyland, this one boasts a parking lot pool. It’s the perfect size for a quick dip to relax.
There’s only two things that would make this place one of my favorite hotels.
Unfortunately there is no breakfast offered. Nothing more than the in-room coffee is available. I’d worry that if there was breakfast offered- it’d be subpar. So maybe no breakfast is a good thing, especially for the price we pay.
Secondly, better WiFi.
Just like German WiFi- it’s the wurst. It drops constantly and has trouble connecting. Walking up to the hotel or at the pool- it works great. In the rooms, it sketches out. Having teens- (and myself) this is life ending! But we are trudging through.
We like staying at this hotel. Even with a couple of flaws. For a place to rest my head and enjoy some downtime- this place is perfect.
Thursday at Twenty Mile Bay was filled with a couple of long hikes and a few big meals. After breakfast, we ventured around the campsite along the water’s edge and capture some amazing pictures, and a little snake.
We did a ton of artsy pictures throughout the day. My daughters and I discussed photography (as I took it in High School, and they are as well). So we tried to out do one another.
The end of the day, we sat around the campfire and tossed in some Mystical Fire to add some colours to the flames.
It was a great way to end our last night of camping.
My wife and I arrived at Leavenworth yesterday in the late afternoon. We drove down Front Street and found a parking spot rather quickly. The obvious aspect of this town is that it is styled with a Bavarian theme. Immediately I noticed two things about the town.
1. There are a lot of overpriced souvenir shops.
2. There are a lot of places to drink. A lot.
So we wandered into the Goose Ridge Vineyard Tasting Room and sampled some white wines and a dessert wine. The hostess was very friendly and knew about the wines she was serving. But when we asked questions about Leavenworth, she didn’t have any real answers. Which I found to be rather odd for a tourist destination.
We left the town so we could check into our Bed & Breakfast. We booked a suite in the Pine River Ranch which is about a 20 minute drive out of town. The room we are staying in is the Natapoc Suite: a super cute half cabin. There’s a fireplace, log furniture, and a soaker tub next to the kitchenette in the middle of the room. With it is included 3 bottles of wine (and a wine tour as well) and a cheese plate that was waiting for us when we arrived.
After a glass of wine in our b&b, we went back into town for dinner. We stopped for a couple of beers first at Icicle Brewing before heading into a restaurant called “Mozart’s“. We were seated at a table near the window and a lovely little Happy Anniversary card was waiting for us.
We had ordered the escargot to start and a share platter for the main. The meal was amazing. Well worth the prices in all honesty. The taste sensation of every bite had me wanting more. If you got to Leavenworth and want a celebratory or romantic meal- this is the place.
We made our way back to our accommodations and finished off a bottle of wine and a bath. I won’t tell you the rest- but it did involve the bed. Alright- we were asleep by 11pm. Relaxed and done for the day.
So day one was a success. Onto a full day now back in town.
This vacation is filled with no plans, but we are still doing stuff. This morning I slept in and was served bacon and pancakes. It seems that when I was drinking the night before- I had agreed to take my son and nephew to the driving range. So I had to live up to my drunken promise.
We took some old clubs and my brother-in-law and I tried to explain how to golf to the kids. A few good hits, but mostly terrible form. We had lost of laughs and busted up a few dozen tees in the process.
While we were gone, my daughter used her free time to write. She is taking it upon herself to write a novel this summer. In a couple of years she wants to major in writing at school. This trip has been a great excuse for her to express her ideas.
Afterwards, I took each of my kids for a rip on the quad. They even took turns driving. We made a few videos and took a bunch of photos. It ended up being a fun day of nothingness again.
I expected nothing of the day. And that’s what I got. After a long journey to arrive at my sister’s, it was great to just sit and be.
My day started by laying on the couch. My brother-in-law made us some bacon and eggs at noon. He had just flown back home today from his work site.
Afterwards, I hit some golf balls into the ocean from my sister’s backyard. I showed my nephew and my son how to swing a club. It brought back memories of my father and his love of golf. It felt natural to swing and hit the golf balls.
Later my sister and I went out for a drink at the local brewery. We talked in a way that I haven’t shared with her in many years. We enjoyed a bonding as adults expressing our emotions. I grabbed a couple growler fills and we headed back to her place. Now we are relaxing having me a few wobbly pops as we enjoy the ocean view. All that’s left is…
I’ve been searching for something the past few days. Actually, it feels as though I’ve been searching for something for ages now. I’m not sure what it is I need. I keep looking towards travel as the answer.
Our recent trip to Tokyo was amazing. The exposure to another country and culture was uplifting and pleasurable. We experienced traditional temples and cherry blossoms surrounded by a bustling city. It was awe inspiring to say the least.
As I said- I want to travel more and see other countries. I feel the need to experience cultures that are vastly different, but in some way similar to ours. I am unsure of where to start. Do we hit up another major city or see some beautiful countryside and old buildings?
I keep getting drawn to the idea of Peru or Hong Kong. I’m tempted to make a trek to Germany and Czech Republic as well. Unfortunately, all of this costs money.
Without having the ability to spend a ton of money on a whim, I have to figure out some more economical ideas. Later this week, I am taking two of our kids to go visit my sister and her kids. It’s only for an extended weekend, but the last time I was there was last summer. Next week, I am also planning a small getaway with my wife for our anniversary.
Later in the summer, I will be taking my kids to a rustic cabin followed by camping on the lake. Then in the fall is our regular trip to Disneyland to experience the new Pixar Pier.
In the end, it feels as though I have a lot of time off- because I do. I really want to see the world, so I’m trying to sprinkle some local trips in with one or two bigger journeys. I want to share the adventures with my family and am trying to include them every chance I get. The kids will grow up so fast one day, that I won’t be able to enjoy these type of moments:
The biggest question still remains- Where do we go from here?
My wife and I are looking at a couple of nights away this summer to celebrate our anniversary. Obviously without kids. She has found a place just south of us called Leavenworth. It is a cute Bavarian style village.
It looks like a quiet romantic village set in the mountains. There’s a Cheese Shop and a Nutcracker Museum as well- how exciting! Besides checking those two places out, we plan on floating down the river, hitting the local breweries and possibly a wine tour. Mostly we want to have a couple of casual “nothing days”. Maybe even a SPA Day…
Looking at places to stay- we are most likely going to do a Bed & Breakfast. A little bit of privacy and pampering to rejuvenate our relationship. We did the Heritage House Bed & Breakfast in Harrison Hot Springs for our honeymoon 17 years ago. We returned to that same place for our one year anniversary since we liked it so much. It seems we like going to little European themed villages.
I’m looking forward to just walking the streets holding my wife’s hand. We are a couple of goofy romantics at heart. Pretty sure by the end of the trip, a nutcracker will come home with us.
If you’ve been to Leavenworth, or have any tips, please let me know!
Over Spring Break I shared our daily adventures while we were in Tokyo. I enjoyed it and tried to only share enough to make it a tease of how wonderful our vacation was. Yesterday I realized that is what a vacation is. A vacation is a little tease of the best parts of what the city/country has to offer.
Last night was my first shift back to work after having 18 days off. Of course a part of me wished my vacation had been longer. But the other part, the part of me that is more down-to-earth, knows that I need to go to work. Going to work helps in a couple of ways.
First- it pays for the vacation.
Second- it makes you appreciate the vacation more. Way more.
You go back to work after a vacation to share stories with coworkers and express how wonderful the time off was. Generally, you have a glow or a good vibe still exuded from your inner being. As the days move on, the glow starts to dissipate until you get to the point that You need a vacation again.
And that’s good. Vacations clear your mind. The boost your confidence. Be silly! Smile more! Be adventurous! Chances are you won’t see these people again, so live a little!
Vacationing also makes you feel like royalty. I found that on vacations I budget and allot a certain amount of spending cash. But there is still a sense of freedom and no real barriers holding your spending back. Want a steak dinner and champagne one night out in the big city? Go for it. Want to explore with a private tour guide- make it happen. Need a souvenir that is outrageously priced? Buy it. Your memories will thank you. Your wallet might not, but it’s only money.
Even just a weekend away on a nearby lake can give you the recharge you need. It hardly costs a thing to enjoy the sunshine and nature. But you need to have something to relate the good vibes to that make it that much more special. That thing is called “work.”
Soon, I’ll be looking forward to my next trip. However, my glow is still happening at the moment. No need to rush it away! I only just got back to my computer.
The title of today’s blog could be considered a lie. I’m usually a great husband (tooting my own horn). But I decided to do something all wives hate right before Christmas- Home renovations.
Yes. I have become that man. The one who is using his time off to redo our 1/2 bath. One week before Christmas.
It’s not all my fault. Really.
I was supposed to have some vacation time back in November, when I had this project planned out. But things changed. And my time off moved. Which I was totally okay with. I don’t think I’ve ever had December vacation before.
So now I’m tiling a cramped 3 foot by 6 foot room. They always tell you to add 10% for waste. But I can’t figure out the formula for how long a project takes. I’m already 12 hours into it and don’t see an end in sight. I’m regretting starting this project ten years ago……. but it has to get done. There was never going to be a good time to do it. I’m sure I could’ve hired someone, but I like doing this sort of thing on my own.
The hardest part is knowing how much there is still left to do. New toilets and vanity to install after the tiles are all done. And the tiles are at least two more days of work. Mostly because I am a perfectionist, every row needs to be level and precise. No cutting corners!
I’m content to be doing stuff like this during my time off from work. Sure, travel would be nice as well. But knowing that I will have a nice looking bathroom once it’s all said and done, is a great sense of accomplishment.
So, even though I may be a bad husband for doing a home renovation project right before Christmas- it’ll be a nice gift once it’s all completed. I’ll be back in the good books then.